This Travel Warning updates U.S. citizens on ongoing safety and security concerns, including concerns about rebel activities in eastern and southeastern Chad, and notes that the government-declared State of Emergency is still in effect. The Department continues to advise American citizens to avoid non-essential travel to eastern Chad. This supersedes the Travel Warning of November 20, 2006.
The Department of State urges American citizens to avoid non-essential travel to eastern Chad, and to take into consideration the increase in crime and the unstable security situation throughout the country, including the capital N'Djamena, before making travel plans. The Government of Chad declared a State of Emergency on November 13, 2006, in response to inter-ethnic violence and rebel activity throughout the country, especially in the east. In December of 2006, the State of Emergency was extended for a period of six months, and has not been lifted. The State of Emergency covers the eastern regions of Ouaddai, Wadi Fira, and Salamat, as well as the regions of Hadjer-Lamis, Bourkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (BET), Moyen Chari, Mondoul, and the capital city of N'Djamena. The Government continues to censor the independent media on occasion, and American journalists traveling to Chad should ensure all required permits and authorizations are obtained before their arrival.
American citizens should exercise caution when traveling in Chad, including within N'Djamena. Since February 2007, there has been an increase in violent crimes and serious security incidents, some involving Chadian security forces (police, military, and gendarmes), and expatriates. American citizens should continue to expect increased police and military patrols around the capital. The Chadian government has introduced travel restrictions outside N'Djamena at various points during the State of Emergency, and may continue to do so, particularly in eastern Chad. American citizens not affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts should avoid travel to eastern Chad and the Chad/Central African Republic border.
American citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies, street demonstrations, and government installations, including the Presidential Palace, which is across from the Parade Grounds. Vehicles should never stop in front of the Presidential Palace. When traveling anywhere in Chad, American citizens should travel in groups, keep a cell phone(for use when service is available) or two-way radio in reach at all times, avoid travel after dusk, and leave detailed travel plans with a reliable point of contact. American citizens traveling with Thurarya satellite phones should register the phones with Chadian authorities.
Reports indicate an increase in the number of couper de routes, or highway banditry incidents, across the country. Some American citizens have reported harassment at Chadian government roadway checkpoints. American citizens are urged to carry all necessary travel documents, including valid passports and visas, and any specific documents required for travel within the country. American citizens who encounter problems at these checkpoints should contact the U.S. Embassy.
Since 2006, clashes between Government forces and anti-government rebel groups occurred primarily in the east of Chad but on one occasion reached as far as the capital. There is a potential for further clashes between rebel movements and government forces in eastern and southeastern Chad and possibly closer to N'Djamena. In the east, there are continued reports of cross-border banditry and United Nations (UN) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) vehicles have been targeted for carjacking. At least one foreigner has been critically injured as a result of a carjacking, and another expatriate was seriously wounded during an armed robbery at an NGO compound in 2006. U.S. citizens affiliated with humanitarian relief efforts in eastern Chad are strongly urged to coordinate travel plans with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) security offices in Abeche and N'Djamena, and to follow UNHCR guidance regarding safety and security. The government of Chad requires all individuals traveling to or residing in refugee-affected areas in eastern Chad to obtain permits issued by the Ministry of Territorial Administration in N'Djamena, and to register in Abeche upon arrival in eastern Chad.
American citizens who intend to enter Sudan from Chad despite the Department's Travel Warnings for both countries must obtain the appropriate visas and permits in advance of entry into Sudan. In August 2006, five foreigners, including two Americans, were arrested and detained in Darfur after entering Sudan via the Chadian border town of Bahai without the appropriate documentation. Several of these individuals had solicited and obtained escorts in Chad who allegedly promised to facilitate entry into Sudan, but who were ultimately unable to follow through with their commitments. Further information is available in the Department's Travel Warning for Sudan.
In southern Sudan, along Chad's border with the Central African Republic (CAR), the situation is volatile, with over 50,000 refugees in Chad who have fled ongoing fighting in the CAR between northern Central African rebels and CAR forces. In the northern Tibesti region and the area north of Lake Chad, there have been occasional clashes between government forces and a rebel group known as the Chadian Movement for Justice and Democracy (MDJT).